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Two Community Programs to Address Local Addiction Crisis

The severity of heroin addiction in the Northern Shenandoah Valley continues to be apparent with eight overdose deaths between January 1 and March 11, 2015. The Addiction Action Committee (AAC), a coalition of law enforcement, health, criminal justice, social service and substance abuse experts, is calling on the larger community to learn more about the complex problem of opioid and heroin addiction.

The AAC is sponsoring two free programs to address this community health issue. The Community Forum on Heroin will be held March 31st at 7 Stimpson Auditorium at the Byrd School of Business at Shenandoah University. Attendees will hear from a local father about his long struggle with addiction, how he overcame the disease and turned his life around. A panel of speakers will address the scope of heroin addiction in our community and solutions being explored by the AAC. Lt. Wally Stotlemyer from the North West VA Regional Drug Task Force will conclude the program explaining what law enforcement is doing to combat the problem and sharing the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and what to watch for.

A second community event titled, "Your Kids Know More Than You Do: Straight Talk for Parents About Teen Drug Use," will be held on Tuesday, April 14th at 7 p.m. in the Patsy Cline Auditorium at Handley High School. Will Rushton, M.D., is an emergency physician at UVA Medical Center who specializes in clinical toxicology. Dr. Rushton will share information on current trends of recreational drug abuse and what parents need to be aware of. This presentation is intended for an adult audience only.

The Addiction Action Committee is working to educate the community about the far-reaching impacts of substance abuse and the importance of tackling the problem openly, as a community. The AAC encourages the public to attend both of these free events.
For more information on the AAC and addiction resources in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, visit These events are made possible with support from Casey Family Programs.